Parkinson's disease symptoms: the patient's perspective

Mov Disord. 2010 Aug 15;25(11):1646-51. doi: 10.1002/mds.23135.


Patients suffering from Parkinson's disease (PD) will typically experience a range of motor and nonmotor symptoms during the course of their illness, each of which will affect a particular individual to varying degrees. However, patients' perceptions of troublesome symptoms often differ from the clinician's view, and these discrepancies can hamper effective management of PD. In this study, we have assessed 265 consecutive PD patients by asking them to rank their three most troublesome symptoms in the last 6 months, so to gain further insight from the impact of illness on patients' quality of life. Patients were divided into early (<6 years) and late PD groups (>/=6 years) from symptom onset. The division at 6 years was based on the mean time from symptom onset to the development of motor complications. In the early PD group, the 5 most prevalent complaints (ranked in descending order) are slowness, tremor, stiffness, pain, and loss of smell and/or taste. In the advanced PD group, fluctuating response to their medication (most common: wearing-off phenomenon followed by dyskinesia), mood changes, drooling, sleep problems (most common: middle and late night insomnia followed by daytime sleepiness), and tremor were the top 5. Our findings provide further evidence for the diversity of experience in PD and suggest that as the disease advances the most troublesome issues that patients perceive are the lack of response to medication and the nonmotor aspects of the disease, highlighting the importance of assessment and patient-centered management in the follow-up of these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavioral Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Behavioral Symptoms / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sensation Disorders / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Stomatognathic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Stomatognathic Diseases / etiology